Last week, a fire engulfed the Festive Foods factory near Waupaca, Wisconsin. Festive Foods is a leading co-packer of USDA certified frozen pizza and entrees. Seventy firefighters spent nearly 12 hours trying to extinguish the blaze, which was reportedly sparked by work being carried out in the factory’s compressor room.
Earlier this month, a fire at a JBS meat packaging plant around Green Bay caused nearly $30,000 in damage. In April, fires destroyed the headquarters of Azure Standard, an organic food distributor in Dufur, Oregon; Taylor Farms Processing Facility in Salinas, California; and the butcher and slaughterhouse East Conway Beef & Pork in Conway, New Hampshire.
At least 12 US food processing facilities have caught fire in the past six months. This comes as 37 million chickens have been killed on US poultry farms this year due to bird flu – the worst outbreak in recorded US history – and the deaths of at least 2,000 cattle in Kansas during this month’s heatwave.
Food security is very important for national security. As Russia’s war in Ukraine upended global food markets and as high gas prices and supply chain disruptions in the US have led to higher costs and lower grocery store inventories, the Biden administration must do everything it can to fortify US production.
A fire at a large food processing plant could starve a country’s food supply. Four companies account for approximately 70% of US pork production (Smithfield, JBS, Tyson and Hormel), 75% of US beef production (JBS, Tyson, Cargill and National Beef) and approximately 60% of the US poultry market (Tyson, JBS , Perdue and Sanderson).
A 2019 fire at Tyson’s beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas — the second largest beef packaging plant in the U.S. — halted production for four months, disrupting the entire supply chain and causing price spikes.
Several “fact checkers” have insisted there is nothing to see here, that the unusual series of industrial fires can be explained as accidents.
However, with farmers warning of impending food shortages due to soaring prices for diesel fuel, fertilizers and seeds, the catastrophic fires streak appears to be another issue the Biden administration should pay attention to – if not actively investigated.
Because that’s what’s coming next — the global food crisis.
“For so long, we’ve enjoyed a lot of food in this country, so we’ve never faced a food shortage and I think that will come in the coming months,” John Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, said during an interview on “On Balance” NewsNation with Leland Vittert last week.
Asked if food shortages were a possibility, Kyle Kotzmoyer, a legislative affairs specialist for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Agriculture, told the state legislature earlier this month, “If farmers can’t get crops off the ground, then there’s no food on the shelves. ”
Mr Kotzmoyer said he had heard of farmers selling corn or peanut seeds back to dealers so they could grow hay, which has a “more return on investment” due to soaring diesel prices.
“We have reached a point very close to the sinking ship,” Mr. Kotzmoyer testified. “We’re teetering on the edge now.”
Again, you would think President Biden would do everything in his power to prevent this threatening crisis. Fires in food processing plants must be investigated, and federal safety protocols enforced.
The same is true for the avian flu outbreak in our poultry sector and the recent cattle deaths in Kansas.
The federal government should relinquish more acreage as farmland, and American farmers should be allowed to plant as much land as they want, free of penalties from the Conservation Reserve, which pays landowners an annual lease on fragile farmland for 10 years or more.
The push to transition America’s population from red meat to synthetic meat to curb carbon emissions — as announced primarily by Bill Gates — needs to be expressed as it is, an absurd policy.
And the war on the fossil fuel industry must end. For starters, we must allow the energy industry to rapidly process permits for drilling on federal land, green light pipeline construction, withdraw refinery biofuels mandates and end so-called “environmental, social and governance” regulations — which have slowed private companies from accessing capital. needed to increase drilling and refining capacity.
Of course, this move would upset climate change ideologues within the Democratic Party, and therefore they stand no chance under the Biden administration.
Biden will transition us to a clean economy — even if we have to starve to get there.
• Kelly Sadler is commentary editor at The Washington Times.